I just finished Netflix’s The Punisher and I think it may be the service’s strongest Marvel show yet, at least structurally. I think it’s the one show that starts strong and maintains a near-perfect arc across all thirteen episodes, even coming full circle in a cool narrative way. As much as I have loved most all of the the Netflix shows, this maybe the only one I’d consider near-flawless in execution.

I also feel — and maybe its just me — that the show does a great job of not glorifying the violence that Castle commits. I think almost all of the fight sequences are presented as being ugly and difficult, and I never got a Death Wish or Dirty Harry “isn’t this badass” vibe while watching.

On top of this, like JJ, the show is about more than what it’s about — the failure of US foreign policy, veteran PTSD, the alt-right, police violence — which is definitely a bonus.

I’ve never had any interest in The Punisher before Netflix’s take. I am totally not a fan of gun-toting “superheroes”, and I was really skeptical when it was hinted Netflix would be taking him on.

But man, I love this version. Maybe even more than the rest of the the Defenders.

24 thoughts on “I just finished Netflix’s The Punisher and I think it may be the service’s strongest Marvel show yet, at least…

  1. < ![CDATA[I was definitely bummed that the only voice for gun contronl in the series was a craven opportuntist, and the pro-gun voice was Karen Page — probably the most beloved character in the whole Netflix canon.]]>

  2. I’m through the third episode and on the fence about continuing. Ep. 3 leaned on my least favorite TV/Netflix show crutch: characters withholding information from others in order to pad out the running time. I sensed it in the first two episodes, but it surfaced in Ep. 3.

  3. < ![CDATA[I'm through the third episode and on the fence about continuing. Ep. 3 leaned on my least favorite TV/Netflix show crutch: characters withholding information from others in order to pad out the running time. I sensed it in the first two episodes, but it surfaced in Ep. 3.]]>

  4. I loved the show, and think it’s second-best after JJ. I think I would’ve felt more for it if a) there was a single non-stupid anti-gun voice and b) the examination of whether violence is the right way to solve things was obviated by violence solving everything.

  5. < ![CDATA[I loved the show, and think it's second-best after JJ. I think I would’ve felt more for it if a) there was a single non-stupid anti-gun voice and b) the examination of whether violence is the right way to solve things was obviated by violence solving everything.]]>

  6. Robert Bohl FWIW, I think they sort of address your point B by implying that all of Castle’s (and Russo’s) violence has its root cause in the horrible stuff they did back in Kandahar. Louis’ issues also all originate with his experience as a soldier and trying to reconcile that with the warrior ideals (honor, duty) he was obviously raised with.

    But I get your point. E.g., it’s clear that Page thinks what Castle does is absolutely okay. She’s more worried about the toll it’s taking on him than what he’s actually doing, I think.

  7. < ![CDATA[Robert Bohl FWIW, I think they sort of address your point B by implying that all of Castle’s (and Russo’s) violence has its root cause in the horrible stuff they did back in Kandahar. Louis’ issues also all originate with his experience as a soldier and trying to reconcile that with the warrior ideals (honor, duty) he was obviously raised with.
    But I get your point. E.g., it’s clear that Page thinks what Castle does is absolutely okay. She’s more worried about the toll it’s taking on him than what he’s actually doing, I think.]]>

  8. I made it through episode four. Still wavering. Can’t shake the feeling that the show’s heavily padded. I prefer movies to TV, so most shows feel that way to me, though. When shows start to drag, I focus on their technical elements and dialogue. Punisher’s not distinguishing itself there, but it’s not bad either.

  9. < ![CDATA[I made it through episode four. Still wavering. Can't shake the feeling that the show's heavily padded. I prefer movies to TV, so most shows feel that way to me, though. When shows start to drag, I focus on their technical elements and dialogue. Punisher’s not distinguishing itself there, but it’s not bad either.]]>

  10. I do like their commitment to deep framing. Their compositional choices don’t feel properly motivated sometimes and they often rely on some modern compositional cliches. But they’re trying and they do get it right as often as wrong.

    I’d be more impressed if there was a dirtier, grindhouse feel to the show that matched the material. There’s a nod to that with the lighting, but they need more than that. They don’t need to go full Punisher: War Zone, but I might like it better if they went less Bourne.

  11. < ![CDATA[I do like their commitment to deep framing. Their compositional choices don't feel properly motivated sometimes and they often rely on some modern compositional cliches. But they're trying and they do get it right as often as wrong. I'd be more impressed if there was a dirtier, grindhouse feel to the show that matched the material. There's a nod to that with the lighting, but they need more than that. They don't need to go full Punisher: War Zone, but I might like it better if they went less Bourne.]]>